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Broncos defense dominates in big win over the Raiders

Despite the win, cracks have started to appear on Denver’s offense that need to get fixed.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Dave Logan found the perfect way to describe the scene.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise since the Denver Broncos radio play-by-play man has done that for nearly two decades.

"All that matters is if you win or lose at this level, and the Broncos found a way to win," Logan said.

Denver’s 16-10 win over the hated Oakland Raiders was any adjective you can think of that is similar to awful, ugly or craptastic, but it is still a win. And any victory over the Raiders that improves your record to 3-1 and 2-0 in the AFC West is a great day. The Broncos defense was dominant and fun to watch, special teams was complementary and helped control field position and the offense ... did enough. What matters is Denver got the win.

It’s also crucial to point out that Denver has a better record than the New England Patriots.

As is the case, and this is no different, there are two ways to look at a situation. Some will focus on how putrid the Broncos offense was, and it was beyond putrid. Denver was 0-of-4 in the red zone and 5 for 16 on third down. Some will focus on the Brandon McManus missed 29-yard field goal, but if the Broncos score touchdowns, this game isn’t close. That doesn’t give McManus a pass. He’s been far from money since he signed his contract extension, but he’s still been good, though decent fits better (6-of-9). If Denver scores touchdowns, that miss doesn’t matter.

There’s also a cold sore on the Broncos offense that is now a concern. They’re effective running the football, but Mike McCoy refuses to stick with it. That wasn’t as bad against the Raiders as it was in the loss to the Buffalo Bills, but this needs to get fixed over the bye. Run. The. Damn. Football. When you have the lead and a defense is dominating, don’t consistently throw the ball on first down. Eat time off the clock but also don’t become so predictable. It’s clear Denver can run the football and is a hell of a lot better at it this season than the last two. For the game, the Broncos had 143 yards on 32 carries. That helped Denver have over 5 minutes in time of possession. Over the bye, hopefully McCoy realizes this key aspect because it will be vital as the season progresses.

But enough of the offense. How about the Broncos defense? Good grief was that fun to watch; especially given the opponent. Maybe it’s just me, but that was a throwback game with how the defense dominated. Denver held the Raiders to 254 yards of total offense, 230 through the air and 24 on the ground. You read that right — 24 yards rushing. That’s an average of 1.6 yards per carry. For the season, the Broncos have allowed just 2.42 yards per carry through four games, the best in franchise history, per Pro Football Reference.

The win may have been closer than most would have liked. It was far from pretty, but you never turn down a victory in the NFL. But when you look beyond the obvious struggles and at the bigger picture, you see a path to success. With seven of the final 12 games on the road, if the Broncos run the football and the stop the run as they did on Sunday, they’ll be hard to beat in any venue. If Denver starts to score touchdowns and improve on third down, watch out.